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Operators deny lack of upkeep

Darjeeling, Oct. 19: Preliminary investigations have shown that a cable running on fixed wheels on tower four came off its groove plummeting the cars into the tea garden below.

Local politicians began the blame game indicting Calcutta-based Conveyor and Ropeway Services of negligence but a company representative said everything was smooth till the mishap. “We ran the routine safety check at 8 am and did not find any snag. Passenger services began from 10 as usual,” said ropeway manager S. Chowdhury.

But he added: “There is a possibility that the concrete base of the tower shifted because of rain and weak soil.” Chowdhury was arrested in the evening.

Councillor Bimal Gurung, who was at the site this morning, said: “The routine inspection is rarely done.” An official of the state forest development corporation, which had roped in the ropeway company, said: “They are very experienced.”

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